Sehr geehrter Herr Ministerpräsident, Your Excellencies, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I would like to warmly welcome you all to the awards ceremony of the Ludwig Erhard Medal for outstanding contributions to the Soziale Marktwirtschaft. May I add my sincere appreciation to the Governor of the Bank of Estonia, Mr Ardo Hansson, for your hospitality, and for enabling us to conduct our ceremony in your beautiful building. Thank you for having us with you.
The Ludwig Erhard Foundation was established in 1967 by Prof. Dr. Ludwig Erhard, the first Minister for Economic Affairs and second Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. His name is closely linked with the economically successful post-war era in Germany, the so called »Wirtschaftswunder«. Erhard himself did not like this word »Wunder« – because economic success is not blessed by any god or by any mercy but by the power of the people who can decide freely.
The aim and objects of the Foundation is to keep his theses alive and further it with seminars and education. The 75 members of the Foundation are high-ranking personalities in economy, politics, science, education and journalism.
Ludwig Erhard in 1975 created this medal. Since then, it has been awarded just 15 times to personalities who – according to the statutes – »have rendered outstanding contributions to the overall welfare, success and continued development of a Social Market Economy«.
With today’s 16th award, the Foundation acknowledges and honours Dr Mart Laar’s consistent advocacy of a fundamental order of freedom in his home country. This decision for this award was taken unanimously by the members of the Ludwig-Erhard-Foundation at their Annual General Meeting. It is beyond doubt, that by honouring Dr Mart Laar we are honouring a man who in the years of his public activity had become a prominent proponent of the Social Market Economy outside Germany.
I remember the city of Tallinn since the 1990s. It was rugs and ruins and it is a splendid and fascinating town right now. Dr Herbert B. Schmidt will explain how you, Mr Laar, succeeded not only in Tallinn but in Estonia for developing this country and this city to its glamour that shows today.
»I am not an economist. I am a practical man«, you once stated in an interview. Perhaps only someone like you – a historian who first became Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia in 1992 at the »tender« age of 32 – could lead Estonia into a promising future so carefree and with the courage to break completely new ground – and it was new ground. For this international highly acclaimed accomplishment, you were awarded the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom last year and, you will undoubtedly secure some chapters in history books on the Historian Dr Mart Laar.
Let’s now hear from Dr Herbert B. Schmidt who served as advisor to you in the years of change on issues of privatisation. His theses later became known as »Schmidtology«. And now Mr Schmidt, the floor is yours.
Lesen Sie hier die Laudatio von Dr. Herbert B. Schmidt.
So, Mr Schmidt, thank you for your lecture in macro and Estonian economy. To put it in one sentence, one word: Welcome to the best world of all, which is called Estonia – what a wonderful city, what a wonderful country and what a wonderful day for us all to honour you with the Ludwig Erhard medal. May I read the »Verleihungsurkunde«:
„In Würdigung seiner Leistungen als Ministerpräsident der Republik Estland bei der erfolgreichen Umsetzung der marktwirtschaftlichen Reformen, die ausdrücklich der Wirtschaftspolitik Ludwig Erhards und seinen Prinzipien – Freiheit, Verantwortung, Privateigentum und Wettbewerb – folgen, hat die Mitgliederversammlung der Ludwig-Erhard-Stiftung beschlossen,
Herrn Dr. Mart Laar
die LUDWIG-ERHARD-MEDAILLE FÜR VERDIENSTE UM DIE SOZIALE MARKTWIRTSCHAFT
Tallinn, den 1. November 2018“
Herr Dr. Laar, ich darf Ihnen herzlich gratulieren!
Hier geht es zur Dokumentation der Veranstaltung mit Videoaufzeichnung und Fotogalerie.